Store manager: Mark Blandford
Store: Morrisons Aldershot
Size: 28,500 sq ft
Market share: 5.1%
Grocery spend: £35,845,994
Spend by household: £351.08
Nearest rivals: Aldi 2.6 miles, Asda 2.8 miles, Co-op 1.1 miles, Iceland 0.2 miles, Lidl 0.2 miles, M&S 2.6 miles, Morrisons 2.9 miles, Sainsbury’s 1.2 miles, , Tesco 0.3 miles, Waitrose 2.8 miles
Source: CACI. For more info visit www.caci.co.uk/contact. Notes: Shopper profiling is measured using Grocery Acorn shopper segmentation. Store catchment data (market share, population, expenditure, spend by household, competition) is within a five-mile radius.
For CACI’s shopper segmentation of the other stores we visited this week see the online report at www.thegrocer.co.uk/stores/the-grocer-33
What is it like to become a store manager after nearly 30 years with the supermarket? I’ve been with Morrisons for 27 years, though I should say I used to be with Safeway. I became a manager nine months ago and have been for three months at Aldershot. I started as a colleague on the shop floor and have worked in all sorts of jobs but always wanted to be a manager. It’s great to get there, it’s what I always wanted to do.
What is the biggest difference as a manager? Knowing that the buck stops with you is an obvious difference, but I’ve been enjoying the responsibility and have had a lot of support from my team.
How does it feel coming in with Morrisons and new boss Rami Baitiéh all over the news? We’ve been through quite a lot of changes in the 27 years I’ve been here and with Safeway, so it’s not the first time we’ve had the spotlight on us in that time. What I do know is that if you put the customer at the centre of what you do, you can’t go far wrong, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do.
What do you think has been the most testing time for Morrisons in that period? Obviously the transition from Safeway was huge. But I think also Covid. As a business we stood up to be counted and performed really well, despite all the challenges.
What do you make of Rami Baitiéh’s rallying cry to the troops and have you met him yet? He’s visited a lot of stores and he’s made himself quite visible, but I haven’t met him yet. The message has certainly been loud and clear that we need to listen to what our customers want, and that certainly is what we are trying to do here.
How do you put that customer-first policy into practice? We have listening groups for customers, and twice a month we sit with them and discuss how we can improve things in store. It sounds quite basic, but it is so important.
Do you feel Morrisons is becoming more competitive on price now? We’re doing a lot of work in store on £1 price points, and also a lot of promotions for our loyalty card prices. It’s really big both in store and online and I do think the message is getting across that we are performing much better on price. The revamped More card is also working really well. In our store we have a large foyer at the front where we are highlighting deals prominently, so people can’t miss them when they come into the store.
How is morale with the staff, considering all the coverage in the background? The staff have been really receptive and I’ve found them to be really positive. I haven’t seen the results of our survey yet, but I’m very hopeful considering how colleagues are reacting.
How is the frozen food relaunch going down? The relaunch has landed really well. There’s been a strong point of sale and some great deals. The new takeaway deal and the new Zizzi deal in particular have been performing very strongly in store and online.
How is online traffic performing? We operate a delivery service hub and click & collect, and have just got six new vans delivered this week. Online is growing for the store and it’s nice to have a brand-new fleet to do the job. It’s another very rewarding part of the job as manager to look after the online side of the store’s operations.